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Pastor's Letters

UPDATES: REOPENING SACRAMENTAL LIFE and ST. MARY CHURCH RENOVATION

Updated: Oct 13

Since it’s been a while since I have addressed either of these topics, I thought this week would be a fitting time to provide whatever updates I can on two of the big questions that are on many people’s minds. First... “When will we have Mass again? When will be have confessions?” I must admit that, as of this moment, I do not have a concrete answer to either of these questions. However, it certainly seems the archdiocese is moving in the direction of reopening the sacramental life of the Church in the relatively near future. This past week the pastors received a letter from the arch-bishop saying that, given the State of Connecticut was planning to begin loosening the lock-down restrictions on May 20, “we can anticipate the resumption of at least some measure of public worship and the administration of the sacraments.” It did not specify precisely what that would look like but stated that the archbishop had appointed a committee of five pastors to work with him to produce some guidelines. While no specific timeline was given, my best guess (and my hope) is that sometime next week the pastors will receive these guidelines and further information regarding timelines. It would be wonderful to be able to gather with even a limited number of you in person in the near future!The other big question I am continually asked is, “How is the work in St. Mary’s Church progressing?” I am happy to report that, thanks to the State of Connecticut defining “construction” as one of the essential industries, the work on the church has continued throughout the pandemic, though at times slowed some in pace. The plaster repair, which was the issue that precipitated the closure of the church over a year ago, has been completed. The structural work taking place in the space between the ceiling and the outer roof is nearly completed. The artistic deco-ration of the church is progressing well. The central nave ceiling is completely finished and the side aisle ceilings will be finished in a matter of days. Some work on the sanctuary ceiling has started with more remaining to do. From there attention will be directed to the walls. The plan is to complete the project from the top down and center out, and to begin deconstructing at least some of the scaffolding in the church as soon as possible. We are hopeful that by midsummer the scaffolding covering the central portion of the ceiling will be removed so that the ceiling will be visible from the ground, and in the weeks following that the remaining scaffolding along the central nave walls removed, and finally the scaffolding in the side aisles. I am hopeful that by early autumn all of the work in the church requiring scaffolding will have been completed and the scaffolding gone. None of this is a guarantee, of course, especially given the uncertainty about the coronavirus and how that might impact not only the workers on the project but the en-tire supply chain providing the materials needed, but this is the current estimate based on the information we have at the moment.As we all look forward to the resumption of some of our public sacramental life, first only in St. Joseph Church and hopefully soon thereafter in St. Mary Church, let us continue to pray to the Lord for the end of this pandemic and the protection of all of God’s people from the medical and economic impacts this pandemic is causing.


God Bless,

Fr. John Paul


St. Mary Parish  | 5 Hillhouse Ave New Haven, CT 06511 | (203) 562-6193 | church@stmarysnewhaven.org

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